Albert Pujols hitting a three-run moonshot to the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park is already a memory forever etched in the minds of baseball fans old enough to remember Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS. Nearly 12 years later, Pujols is still doing it.
In the top of the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Astros, the Angels’ DH sent a 0-1 Joe Musgrove offering to the train tracks, breaking a 2-2 tie. It’s Pujols’ second homer of the season and the 593rd of his career. He’s now 16 home runs behind Sammy Sosa for eighth on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale made a hasty exit from his final Grapefruit League outing on Saturday after sustaining a left hip contusion. He was struck on the leg with a line drive from the Astros’ J.D. Davis in the first inning and immediately collapsed on the mound. He was able to walk off the field without a noticeable limp, however, and later told reporters that the ball struck a nerve and temporarily stunned his leg. As a precautionary move, the Red Sox pulled him after the incident and will have the left-hander undergo X-rays to rule out any further injury to his hip.
This was expected to be Sale’s last start of spring training. Prior to Saturday’s matinee against the Astros, the 28-year-old southpaw made three starts in camp, allowing five runs, one home run, three walks and striking out 18 batters in 14 innings. He’s still on track to start the season for the Red Sox during their road opener against the Rays next Thursday.